Reach (Planet)

Reach (Planet)

Infobox Planet
name = Reach


caption = The Covenant armade turn Reach to glass with Plasma.
apsis = astron
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periastron =
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surface_grav = 1.1 G
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single_temperature = -18°C to 38°C (N2, O2)

Located in the Epsilon Eridani star system in FLEETCOM Sector One, "Reach" was one of the headquarters for the UNSC and the main supplier of military and civilian spacecraft. Located there was the military installation where the Spartans were trained. Originally colonized for its rich titanium deposits, Reach had mines throughout it running thousands of meters deep. HIGHCOM, FLEETCOM and the Marine Corps had headquarters on Reach, as well as many primary ONI bases, which include CASTLE Base. It was the most populated planet after Earth in the UNSC. [http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNSC]

Orbiting around reach were 20 Super-MAC guns, or 'big sticks'. these were destroyed during the Invasion of Reach, or were disabled by ground troops by destroying their power source.

CASTLE base was located on Reach underneath Menachite Mountain. This facility is where the Spartans first began their training. The facility was destroyed after the planet's fall to the Covenant. A secret area beneath Reach's surface contained a Forerunner artifact that was highly desired by the Covenant. The fact that this artifact was so valuable to them is perhaps the main reason anyone survived Reach at all, as the Covenant were fearful of destroying it.

After the Battle of Reach, the planet was completely uninhabited and mostly razed. When UNSC forces finally abandoned the planet, a small Covenant occupation fleet remained in the system.

Battle of Reach

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Reach
partof=Human-Covenant War


caption=
date=August 30, 2552 - September 23, 2552
place=Epsilon Eridani Star System
result=Moral UNSC Victory, Covenant fleet destroyed, Reach destroyed by UNSC forces
combatant1=United Nations Space Command
combatant2=The Covenant
commander1=*Admiral Roland Freemont†
*Dr. Catherine Halsey
*Cortana
*John-117
*Vice Admiral Whitcomb†
commander2=*Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice
strength1=*2 Fleets
**152 warships
***1 super carrier
***1 Carrier
***3 Cruisers
***Several dozen Destroyers
***Frigates
***Corvettes
*20 Orbital Defense Platforms
*Platoon of 25 Spartans
*Marines
*Ascendant Justice (reinforcement) (later coupled with Gettysburg),
* One Pelican, piloted by Sheila Polaski
* One Marine: Sergeant Johnson
* One ODST: Locklear
* One ONI agent, Lieutenant Haverson
* One AI Construct: Cortana
strength2=*Several Fleets
**Fleet of Particular Justice
*315 Covenant Ships ["Includes the initial 314, the Supercruiser ]
**1 Covenant Supercruiser
*Legions of ground troops
casualties1= *Over 130 ships
**1 super carrier
*20 Super MAC Cannons
*Ground forces (estimated):
**5.7 million dead (5 million due to orbital bombardment)
**1.5 million wounded
**Many Class-1 SPARTAN-IIs
**possible Class-2 and 3 SPARTAN-IIs - heavy
casualties2=~262 ships
*Unknown number of ground troops (possibly heavy)
casualties3=All Civilians on Planet killed during Bombardments of both UNSC and Covenant forces.|

The Battle of Reach was one of the largest and bloodiest engagements in the Human-Covenant War. It was fought between the UNSC Defence Force and the Covenant in between August and September of 2552.

Background

Despite suffering a severe defeat at the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, the Covenant managed to place a tracking device on the UNSC Iroquois and use it to find Human colony worlds. When the "Iroquois" returned to Reach, the Human presence, and its extent on that world was disclosed and later revealed to the Covenant fleet. Ironically, the location of Reach was already known to the Covenant via a previously recovered Forerunner artifact which indicated that Reach was the location of yet another artifact.

Less than two months after the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, a large Covenant fleet converged on Reach to recover the artifact and cleanse the human presence. With horrendous casualties sustained by both sides, the Covenant eventually routed the defenders and proceeded to glass the planet with the exception of the Highland Mountains and CASTLE Base, the location of the artifact.

The artifact itself, a crystal, would later escape Reach and be destroyed, with only a few fragments falling into Covenant hands. [] .

Timeline

August 30, 2552:

*0447 Hours: The Remote Scanning Outpost "Fermion" detects incoming Covenant vessels. An emergency message is relayed to FLEETCOM. The Outpost then self-destructs per the Cole Protocol due to an unsecured science library and nearby Covenant forces.

*0500 Hours: A fleet of 314 [, page 296] Covenant vessels exits Slipspace on the edge of the system.

*0517 Hours: Admiral Roland Freemont (FLEETCOM Sector One commander) issues a general order to all vessels in the Reach, Jericho, and Tantalus systems. All vessels and stations initiate the Cole Protocol and rush to rally point ZULU.

*0534 Hours: Covenant vessels make pinpoint Slipspace jumps attempting to destroy any incoming or outgoing human vessels before they can regroup. A Covenant Carrier targets the UNSC Pillar of Autumn but is destroyed.

*0545 Hours: The Covenant vessels begin a frontal assault. As the Covenant and Human fleets engage above Reach, it seems to be a stalemate, as Covenant ships take out UNSC ships, while the UNSC ships and MAC cannon take out an equal number. The first salvo by the UNSC vessels destroys a third of the remaining Covenant fleet. A previously unknown Covenant warship, called a "Supercruiser" by Captain Keyes, arrives and destroys several UNSC ships while outside weapons range.

*0558 Hours: Station Gamma Dockmaster AI Doppler is unable to implement the Cole Protocol on the UNSC Circumference, an ONI prowler docked at Reach Station Gamma, due to measures taken to maintain the secrecy of Operation: HYPODERMIC. Doppler sends priority message to FLEETCOM concerning this violation. Covenant intrusion software detects this oversight, and the Covenant deploy troops to seize the NAV database aboard the "Circumference".

*0616 Hours: The Spartan soldiers are dispatched from the "Pillar of Autumn". SPARTAN-117, SPARTAN-058, and James form Blue Team and go aboard the Dock to destroy the "Circumference", while the remainder form Red Team and head to the surface of Reach to defend the power generators for the MAC guns. James goes MIA when a needler hits his T-PACK and propels him into space during combat. Blue Team continue through the station, rescuing Staff Sergeant Johnson, Private O'Brien, Private Bisenti, and Private Jenkins from Jackals and Elites.

*0620 Hours: The Covenant fleet retreats from the system after deploying dropships. The UNSC fleet fires on the ships, destroying many. Hundreds of boarding craft land on Reach.

*0621 Hours: The boarding craft are landed and the armory is overrun and the Covenant fleet returns to the system. The then Covenant split their 150+ remaining ships. One fleet attacks the UNSC ships, while another takes out the MAC cannons and send in troops to land on Reach. The UNSC try to split their 50+ remaining forces to engage the Covenant, but there are too many platforms to cover and too many casualties. The Supercruiser continues to destroy UNSC ships, allowing the other ships to attack the MAC cannons.

*0631 Hours: Red Team is shot down. They have no choice but to jump from the crashing Pelican and make a "hard landing" on the ground. Results in 4 dead and 6 seriously injured.

*0637 Hours: The Spartan team on the "Circumference" mission returns to the "Pillar of Autumn". Only SPARTAN-117 and clinically dead SPARTAN-058 make it back, with Staff Sergeant Johnson, Private O'Brien, Private Bisenti, and Private Jenkins.

*0647 Hours: The "Pillar of Autumn", pursued by a dozen Covenant vessels, retreats from the system, arriving at Installation 04.

*0649 Hours: Red Team sets up defenses around ODG Facility A-331.

*0711 Hours: SPARTAN-104, SPARTAN-029, and SPARTAN-087 plant a nuclear warhead though the gravity lift in a landing Covenant cruiser, leaving SPARTAN-029 missing, (presumed dead) in the process.

*0720 Hours: The Covenant destroy ODG Facility A-331 by aerial bombardment, though some Spartans escape. The surviving MAC guns are now offline and are quickly destroyed by plasma torpedos. Remaining UNSC vessels have no choice but to retreat. The Covenant warships are split into two groups: 5 ship teams that hunt down the surviving UNSC vessels and a group of ships that align themselves in formation and begin to glass Reach.

Having captured the Covenant Flagship Ascendant Justice, the survivors of the Battle of Installation were in a position where they could not return to Human controlled space due to Article 7 of the Cole Protocol. The Article required that a captured Covenant vessel be thoroughly searched for any tracking devices that would alert the Covenant to a new Human controlled system before that vessel could enter a System that the Covenant weren't aware of.

The decision was made to set course for Reach for several reasons:
# Reach was a known system to the Covenant, so it would not be in violation of the Cole Protocol.
# There may be a functional warship after the Battle of Reach that they might be able to use to get to UNSC controlled space.
# There was a chance of survivors being found.

Covenant

Unlike most of their operations, Covenant forces had chosen to only selectively bombard Reach rather than glass the planet. The reason for this was that they were particularly interested in Forerunner artifacts, particularly a Forerunner Crystal that they called the "Holy Light" which was located under ONI's Castle Base. As a result, at least two (if not more) groups of survivors remained on the planet.

Admiral Whitcomb

During the Battle of Reach, 3 Spartans (Li, Grace, and Anton) joined up with Vice Admiral Whitcomb. After planting a NOVA bomb inside the Covenant ranks, they spent the next several weeks performing Guerrilla Attacks upon occupational Covenant forces on Reach. However, they were stranded on the planet with no means of escape.

Dr Halsey

Underneath the ruins of CASTLE base, Dr. Halsey and 5 Spartans (Fred, Kelly, Will, Vinh, and Issac) had spent 5 days combing the remains of a Forerunner base and an additional 5 days trapped in a hallway inside the ruins by Covenant forces. They managed to retrieve the Forerunner crystal the Covenant were seeking, but it emitted a burst of radiation which alerted the Covenant to their presence. Vinh and Issac fell at the hands of overwhelming Covenant forces, and the others escaped by blowing the hallway down behind them.

The Battle

Arrival at Reach

The Ascendant Justice arrived seven hundred thousand kilometers [ pg. 154] from Reach where her crew assessed the situation. They noticed several of ships in orbit along with an orbital docking station and that the planet had mostly been glassed. However, a small spot that had not been destroyed perked the interest of both John-117 and Lieutenant Haverson, the former because it meant that there might be survivors from the Spartan team, the latter because of the Covenant's obvious interest in that spot.

When they arrived at Reach, they sent all the standard responses to indicate that they were still Covenant controlled. The Ascendant Justice was supposed to have a high ranking person on board so the Covenant did not question their authority to be there and thus, the charade succeded. From here, they were able to determine that the enemy fleet consisted of 13 Heavy Cruisers, a pair of Light Cruisers and a trio of Carriers along with hundreds of smaller ships. They also spotted a pile of debris where all the leftover Covenant and UNSC ships that had fallen in the Battle of Reach were being kept. They also picked up a weak transmission which the Master Chief, which was the "Oly Oly Oxen Free" signal. From this, he knew that there were Spartans alive on the planet.

Rescue

John-117 convinced the team to go to the surface while Cortana continued to pilot the ship. Cortana determined a hole in the Covenant patrol pattern and used it to determine an extraction point.

Once the team left, Cortana started analyzing as much data as she could. However, she quickly realized that she wasn't running at optimal capacity and had spread herself too thin. Before she could rectify this problem, the Covenant AI took advantage of her distraction and stunned her before taking over the communications system and signaling the nearby fleet of the Ascendant Justice's capture. Cortana was able to recover in time to dismantle the renegade AI, but not before the damage had already been done.

The Covenant forces immediately turned on the Ascendant Justice with 13 ships moving to engage her. However, while their weapons charged, Cortana took the opportunity to test her new improvements to the Ascendant Justice's weapons systems. Without a need to charge her weapons, she was able to destroy 3 warships and do damage to a Carrier's launch bay [ pg. 171-172] . However, she determined that the risk was too high to continue to fight and opted to flee instead, jumping to the Oort cloud of the Epsilon Eridani system to plot her next move.

The Covenant were also suspicious of the Transport heading to the surface of Reach, but a quick inspection allayed their concerns. The UNSC personnel were able to land without further incident and the team made contact with 3 Spartans (Anton-044, Grace-093 and Li-008) and Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb at Camp Independence. The two teams relayed information about the events since the Battle of Reach. When the Master Chief determined that there might be survivors underneath Mechanite Mountain, Whitcomb approved a plan to try and rescue them.

The Mountain

The team was able to get inside Mechanite Mountain without incident. They used the Covenant excavation tunnel and then landed at the bottom floor of the Forerunner installation. Li-008 and Polaski were assigned to stay with their dropship and Whitcomb ordered them into a position that would provide the least risk to the vessel. The rest of the team piled out and ambushed a group of about 100 Covenant soldiers who were trying to dig their way through to Dr. Halsey and her accompanying the Spartans, Kelly-087, Fred-104 and Will-043.

By the time the Covenant forces had been dispatched, the opening the Covenant had been working on was finished by Halsey's Spartans. The two teams were beginning to call for extraction when they realized that an entire Battalion [ pg 189] of Covenant forces were bearing down on them.

Two Hunters fired on the team - badly wounding Kelly and knocking her out of the battle as she tried to shield Dr. Halsey. However, the Hunters would, in turn, be fired upon by the rest of the Covenant forces. The Elite in charge made it clear that the Forerunner Crystal was not to be damaged and therefore, the UNSC forces were not to be fired upon. The Covenant charged en mass against the UNSC forces and were engaged by the Spartans while Polaski flew in to extract them. With John carrying Kelly, they escaped the fight.

As they were trying to exit the installation, a Covenant warship above them activated its Grav Beam, trying to force them back down. However, the Forerunner Crystal activated and shut down the Grav Beam long enough for them to escape. Free of the installation, they plotted course for the rendezvous.

Escape

Cortana, meanwhile, had been working on her plan. She jumped into the debris field and began searching for a UNSC ship with an active power core. She settled on the Gettysburg and connected the two ships. Fortunately for her, the Covenant were busy with the UNSC troops and their dropship that they didn't realize that the Ascendant Justice had arrived. With the two ships joined and the power from both reactors available, Cortana was ready. She took a final check of the rendezvous point and found that the entire Covenant fleet was in the area and that the Covenant fleet had tripled. She also intercepted communications ordering that the UNSC forces not be fired upon because they had the Forerunner Crystal.

Cortana jumped to the rendezvous point. Her arrival surprised the Covenant forces and by the time they had recovered to engage her, the UNSC team was already aboard. Using the combined power from the two reactors, Cortana charged her Slipspace drive and determined she needed five seconds to get a full charge. With that time, she fired on the nearest four Cruisers, destroying two of them. She then entered Slipspace, fleeing the system.

lipspace Battle

Their escape was not what it was supposed to be. The Ascendant Justice/Gettysburg had entered some form of Slipspace anomaly. Fourteen Covenant ships were able to enter behind the ship. Within the anomaly, they could maneuver and fire at other ships, but the weapons they fired would jump randomly and there was no guarantee that they would do what was intended. This did not deter the Covenant from firing on the captured ship, nor Cortana from returning fire. This resulted in random bolts of superheated plasma impacting ships from both sides, causing heavy damage to the Ascendant Justice and destroying many of the Covenant warships.

Dr. Halsey determined what the anomaly was due to the Forerunner crystal, which seemed to warp Slipspace. She also concluded that it was only because of the considerable mass of the Ascendant Justice/Gettysburg configuration that they were able to stabilize space near themselves.

In the randomness of the trajectories, the various Plasma blobs eventually resulted in 3 hits taking out one of the Covenant cruisers. Two other shots made glancing blows against the Ascendant Justice, though her shields remained intact. A third shot took out two of her Plasma turrets. However, it quickly became apparent that the more dangerous threat wasn't from the Plasma shots but from the anomaly itself. The anomaly was ripping the ship apart and it became evident that staying too long would be disastrous.

However, with over a dozen Cruisers facing them, the option of reverting to Real Space was suicidal. Admiral Whitcomb chose to get into close range with the Covenant warships and take them out, one-by-one, where their turrets would be the least affected by the anomaly. However, when Cortana tried to power up the engines to fight, an explosion on the main drive conduit disabled their engines. Determining the explosion was sabotage, the Spartans and Polaski headed out to fight back the attackers and to fix the conduit.

The team was able to get to the conduit without major issue. Grace quickly confirmed the assumption of sabotage and while Fred and Grace set to repairing the damage, the rest of the team readied themselves for a possible attack.

It was a near-miss from a plasma bolt that alerted the SPARTANS to the incoming attack. The electromagnetic waves from the plasma overloaded the incoming Covenant Elites's active camouflage and the SPARTANS opened fire. However, shortly after the welders finished their task, Polaski warned them of the incoming ball of Plasma. The Spartans scrambled for cover as the plasma impacted the dropship.

The Covenant Elites, Polaski, Anton and Li all perished in the explosion. Only John was left conscious. He quickly secured his teammates by attaching their tethers to the ship, then attached his own. He had enough time to message the bridge and inform them that the job had been done before he, too, fell into unconsciousness.

By this point, Cortana felt that the Covenant forces had been reduced to a mere 3-5 warships, though she also speculated that the Ascendant Justice would only be able to survive another 5 minutes in the anomaly. Admiral Whitcomb determined that he wanted to destroy one or two of the remaining warships before he left to minimize the amount of fighting they had to do outside of the anomaly. He also was counting on the others taking so much damage from the anomaly by that point that they would be out of commission.

For the first ship, Whitcomb had Cortana pressurize the loading bay of the Gettysburg. As soon as the Spartans secured the conduit, he ordered a collision course with a nearby, lightly damaged, Covenant Cruiser. While the Covenant Cruiser continued to fire into the anomaly, the Ascendant Justice slowly approached. When they were a mere kilometer apart, the Ascendant Justice fired and the Gettysburg's launch bay doors opened, pushing the two Cruisers apart. As the close range, the weapons were able to cross as if they were in normal space and the Cruiser was destroyed.

They then used the aft of the destroyed Covenant warship and rammed it towards a Covenant carrier. Using it as both a shield and ram, they sent the chunk on a collision course with the Carrier. The Carrier shot the incoming missile into pieces, but still suffered damage. The Ascendant Justice fired upon the Carrier, finishing it off. Admiral Whitcomb ordered them out of Slipspace.

Aftermath

The Crystal

The slipspace bubble put the Gettysburg-Ascendant Justice many light years away from Reach and UNSC space. The speed they traveled through slipspace actually exceeded that of Covenant capabilities. However, they determined that the crystal emitted high levels of radiation within slipspace making it so that wherever they traveled, the Covenant would track them. It would later be left in the hands of Corporal Locklear to destroy.

Eridanus Secundus

Transmissions intercepted by Cortana revealed the fact that a Covenant fleet was rendezvousing at the Unyielding Hierophant before proceeding to Earth. With their position being well beyond UNSC space, the priority for the survivors of the Battle of Reach became returning to Earth and warning them about the danger. However, to do so, they needed to undergo repairs, as well as follow the Cole Protocol by somehow disposing of the crystal, as it would give away their position whenever they entered Slipspace.

John-117 suggested a rebel base in the nearby Eridanus system, where he had completed his first mission. This would lead to the Massacre at Eridanus Secondus.

UNSC Forces

pace Assets

:Carriers:*UNSC Musashi:*UNSC Trafalgar, Supercarrier :Cruisers:*UNSC Dawn Under Heaven, Halcyon-class Cruiser}:*UNSC Pillar of Autumn, Halcyon-class Cruiser:Destroyers:*UNSC Herodotus:*UNSC Iroquois:*UNSC Lancelot:*UNSC Minotaur:*UNSC Tharsis:Frigates:*UNSC Euphrates:*UNSC Gettysburg:UNSC Alliance Not known:Prowlers:*UNSC Circumference:Other/Unknown Type:*UNSC Basra:*UNSC Hannibal:*Remote Sensing Station "Fermion"

Personnel

*Admiral Roland Freemont
*Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb
*Captain Jacob Keyes
*John-117
*Linda-058
*James

ources


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